Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s family-friendly and community-driven free concert “Street Beats” closes the organization’s 2017-2018 season Saturday, June 9, at downtown Dayton’s Courthouse Square.
The fun, upbeat concert offers audiences a casual, laid-back opportunity to see and enjoy modern contemporary dance. In addition to showcasing the company’s repertoire, the program will feature performances by area guest artists including Miami Valley Dance Company and Xclusive Dance Crew, as well as DCDC2, the troupe’s talented training company.
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“This concert has moved around to different venues over the years, but we’re excited about bringing it to the heart of downtown Dayton at Courthouse Square,” said DCDC Associate Artistic Director Crystal Michelle. “It is an opportunity to live out the name of the concert, to feel the heartbeat of the streets of Dayton through the lens of dance. Downtown Dayton is hosting more festivals, reaching more community groups, and the arts district is expanding as well, so it seems to be the perfect time to center ourselves in Courthouse Square. We’re also excited about expanding the program to include hip-hop dancers and a jump rope troupe. We’re really trying to instill a vibe that allows absolutely everyone who attends to get into their body, to see themselves in the performances, and keep the spirit light and vibrant as summertime approaches.”
In particular, Miami Valley Dance Company will present a work choreographed by the company by DCDC Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs to Stevie Wonder’s “Shining Star.” It is the fifth work she has done for them.
“They’ll also present a work titled ‘No Exit’ by MVDC co-director Lily Seitter,” said Miami Valley Dance Company Artistic Director Terri Manning.
“We’ve had a long relationship with Debbie,” Manning added. “We’re thrilled to be included in ‘Street Beats’ and we’re looking forward to the outdoor venue.”
The interactive children’s stage will feature performances by the Dayton Gem City Jumpers and Jeraldyne’s School of Dance. Dayton Gem City Jumpers will also offer jump rope workshops and Jeraldyne’s School of Dance will offer classes. Skull Dollz will offer face painting. A variety of other children’s activities, including sidewalk chalk, will also be available. In addition, food trucks will be on site.
Attendees should bring lawn chairs or blankets. Pets and coolers are prohibited.
“Come and enjoy the beat in the street as we close our 49th season and gear up for the celebration of the 50th,” Blunden-Diggs said. “This free concert is our way to say thank you for your support.”
DCDC TOURS KAZAKHSTAN AND RUSSIA
DCDC journeyed to Kazakhstan and Russia on May 7 for the seventh season of “DanceMotion USA,” a cultural diplomacy program run through the U.S. Department of State and Brooklyn Academy of Music.
The touring agenda included teaching workshops in Almaty and Oskemen, Kazakhstan, and creating and performing a collaborative concert with an award-winning Kazakh dance company in Shymkent. In Moscow, DCDC performed at the illustrious Bolshoi theatre, and also led workshops for students, young professionals and choreographers. They will also perform and teach in Yekaterinburg and Kurgan, Russia, before returning to Dayton.
Dance works the company performed included Associate Artistic Director Crystal Michelle’s “American Mo,” originally performed with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Kiesha Lalama’s “Shed,” Stafford C. Berry’s “Wawa Aba,” Ray Mercer’s “This I Know For Sure,” and Donald McKayle’s masterpiece “Rainbow Round My Shoulder.”
“These works are representative of our culture and the diversity we have in our repertory, as well as one of DCDC’s strongest features, its ensemble work,” Blunden-Diggs said. “Art crosses all boundaries and we get to put it to the test as we engage with audiences who may not be familiar with contemporary dance rooted in the African-American experience.”
“For some of our dancers, it is their first time traveling overseas,” Michelle noted. “It is a very special opportunity. Sometimes you can question who you are and why you’re on a certain path, but this tour affirms for the company and our artists we are in the right place at the right time doing exactly what we’re supposed to do.”
“During our 50th anniversary celebration, we feel extremely honored to have this tour,” added DCDC CEO Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders. “It demonstrates what we have been able to achieve as an exceptional arts organization during our 50-year tenure. As we travel the world representing Dayton, Ohio, we are reminded of our connection to those innovators who have touched the world like Jeraldyne did 50 years ago.”
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